THE Financial Gazette Staff Reporter, Andrew Kunambura, was on Friday arrested by overzealous Harare municipal police officers for taking pictures of the officers while arresting some vendors in Harare central business district.
Arrested along with freelance journalist, Emison Haripindi, who writes for The People’s Voice, a ZANU-PF in-house publication, Kunambura was detained at Harare Central Police Station for more than four hours.
The two were, however, later released without charge.
Ironically the two were rushing for an assignment where Commissioner General of the Zimbabwe Republic Police, Augustine Chihuri was launching his book at a local hotel when they noticed municipal police officers arresting two female vendors along Robert Mugabe way.
One of the vendors had a small child aged about four or five who was being dragged along with her mother.
The child was attempting to wrestle her mother’s confiscated wares but was being repeatedly pushed away violently by the officers, which provided a good photo opportunity for the journalist.
The Financial Gazette Editor-in-Chief, Hama Saburi described the arrest of the two journalists as “shameful as it is shameless”.
“We have hit another low point as a country with regards to the persecution of journalists by municipal police, who are becoming a law unto themselves,” he said, adding: “To think that council police can have the nerve to arrest journalists who are going about their professional duties without being provoked and even attempt to file trumped up charges against them at a police station with the hope of fabricating a prosecutable case against innocent journalists, is the height of madness that has crept into our council police.
“Surely, this cannot be allowed to continue. The Financial Gazette calls for an immediate end to the persecution of journalists. In fact, what we are seeing reinforces our view that there is need for our nationhood to reinforce safeguards that can enable journalists to conduct their duties without any hindrance.”